A Grand Alliance to Hold Virtual Policy Conference

January 11, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

A Grand Alliance is excited to announce a major policy conference to be held virtually, starting March 16, that will culminate in the development of A People’s Postal Agenda.

After fending off years of the most serious attacks against the Postal Service in a generation, members of A Grand Alliance are ready to go on offense and promote a positive vision for a Postal Service that meets the needs of the people of the country.

The Grand Alliance was founded to bring together supporters of our national treasure – a public Postal Service for the people of the United States – in defense of our democratic right to quality postal services. As we noted in the November-December issue, the last four years have undoubtedly been a critical period for the Alliance. We have organized, mobilized and broadened our coalition to stop those forces who openly advocated for postal privatization.

Now, with the most anti-postal presidential administration in recent memory gone, the Alliance has a real opportunity to push forward on an agenda that can turn the Postal Service around and begin to build a service befitting the modern needs of the people.

Our priorities must now reflect these new political opportunities. It is time to grow political support for additional COVID-related relief for USPS, building on the $10 billion that was passed at the end of 2020. We must do away with the harmful prefunding mandate, responsible for so much of the financial hardship endured by the Postal Service the last 15 years. We must also continue to build support for an expansion of the role of the Postal Service.

Push for Expanded Services

Nearly a year since the pandemic closed major sectors of the economy, drove students to online learning, and millions of workers to endless Zoom meetings, there’s little doubt that the Postal Service has demonstrated the important role it already plays in our society. Throughout the pandemic, the Postal Service has been a vital link for people, businesses and services across the country. From the giants of e-commerce to one-person shops, the public Postal Service has connected 160 million homes to the outside world in a most trying time.

A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service is a broad coalition of national, state and local organizations including the NAACP, Vote Vets, Jobs with Justice, National Council of Churches and Rainbow PUSH. These groups have come together to take a stand against the unprecedented assaults on the Postal Service including efforts to dismantle and privatize it. To join A Grand Alliance, visit www.AGrandAlliance.org.

Now is also the time to imagine a world where the Postal Service did much more than simply connect us through the world’s largest and most efficient delivery network. What if the Postal Service could also meet the needs of the millions of families who lack access to fair and affordable financial services? The pandemic further underscored this need. When stimulus checks were first issued, millions of people without bank accounts missed out on vitally needed aid. A program of robust postal financial services could fix that.

Another area the conference will consider is the Postal Service’s role in combatting climate change. With the world’s largest civilian fleet of vehicles, more than 30,000 brick-andmortar locations and millions of square footage, the Postal Service is a massive consumer of energy. Imagine a world where the Postal Service was a hub for electric vehicle charging, solar and wind energy generation, and a leader in retrofitting and greening industrial buildings.

We will also consider other additional uses of the Postal Service’s unmatched physical and human networks. From partnering with local retailers to offering store-to-door delivery, to checking in on isolated seniors, to monitoring and reporting on air quality or road conditions, postal workers are in a position to greatly expand the services we offer our communities.

Ultimately, the goal of the conference will be to bring together people who can share thoughts about what the Postal Service ought to do, and provide a crucial occasion to strategize about how we will achieve the changes that are important to postal workers, the future of the Postal Service, and the country it serves.

We hope you will join us online. For more information in the coming weeks, be sure to log onto apwu.org or agrandalliance.org.

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